M&E Connections

Dolby Atmos Presence Growing in Video Game Market

Lost somewhat amid the hype around the Microsoft One X console and virtual reality at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles earlier this month was the clear sign that Dolby Atmos surround sound technology is attaining a larger presence in the video game market.

The new Xbox One X, like Microsoft’s Xbox One S before it, supports Atmos and a small but growing number of games are taking advantage of that. The first was the PC version of Blizzard Entertainment’s “Overwatch,” released last year. Upcoming games shown at E3 that feature Atmos included “Crackdown 3” and “Gears of War 4,” both published by Microsoft Studios. They are the first two titles using the technology for the Xbox One consoles.

Headphone maker Plantronics announced at the show that it had become the exclusive partner for Xbox One X Dolby Atmos gaming headsets. The exclusiveness of the pact will be for at least this year, Gregory Morquin, gaming segment manager for Europe and Africa, told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) at E3.

Plantronics is shipping three initial products supporting Atmos: the RIG 400LX at $99.99, RIG 600LX at $129.99 and wireless RIG 800LX at $149.99, he said. Additional Atmos-enabled models will be announced by Plantronics later this year, Plantronics said.

In announcing the new headphones, Plantronics said in a news release that Atmos “heightens players’ sense of awareness and gaming experience.”

The three initial headphones supporting Atmos will be bundled with codes that will let consumers activate Dolby Atmos over Headphones at no extra charge on their Xbox One consoles or Windows 10 PCs, Plantronics said, adding the sound technology provides “powerful, moving audio that sweeps around and above gamers with increased precision and realism.” Using Atmos, gamers “can more easily identify individual audio elements from their environment, and quickly pinpoint their source,” Spencer Hooks, director of games at Dolby, said in the news release.

The growing presence of Atmos in gaming comes as Dolby continues to expand the technology’s presence at theaters via its Dolby Cinema platform that also includes the Dolby Vision projection system. The company said June 16 that “Horse Soldiers” from Warner Bros. Pictures was the 100th title to be made available at theaters featuring Dolby Cinema globally.